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Live Theatre announces the departure of Artistic Director, Joe Douglas

Live Theatre today announced that Joe Douglas has resigned from his role as Artistic Director and will step down mid-November 2020. 

Joe joined Live Theatre in May 2018. His first directorial production for Live Theatre Clear White Light in November 2018, was voted one of the Guardian Readers’ top theatre shows of 2018. In June 2019, Joe’s hit revival of that most Scottish of plays, The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil was critically acclaimed, with Live Theatre hosting the only English performances of the tour.

Joe was very much looking forward to directing Live Theatre commission, Children of The Night and A Very British Coup this summer, however the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown of cultural venues, put a stop to those projects for at least a year or more and has kept Joe out of the rehearsal room he loves. Joe has a young family and with his close family support networks in Scotland, he feels now is the time to move. 

Joe Douglas said: “It has been a massive privilege to be Artistic Director of Live Theatre over the past two and a half years. Newcastle is an incredible city - there is a community of artists and audiences in the North East that have blown me away at times. Live Theatre will continue championing and supporting new artists for many years to come and I am proud to have played a part in that story. I have come to this decision entirely for personal and family reasons that have come into focus over the past few months. I wish my friends and colleagues at Live Theatre and across the region the very best for the future.”

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive of Live Theatre commented: “I am saddened by this news as Joe has been a great asset to the Live Theatre family, bringing enthusiasm, creativity and a wealth of directorial experience to the role. I think this decision is the right one for him and his family. Myself and the team at Live Theatre send him all of our good wishes.”

Live Theatre announced in February that they were seeking to recruit a new Chief Executive in 2020 with the news that Jim Beirne would be standing down. However, Covid-19 put the brakes on the recruitment process but with lockdown easing it is now time to re-commence this with a view to a new Chief Executive being in place from Spring 2021. It seems prudent to involve the incoming Chief Executive in the recruitment of a new Artistic Director, so this will get underway in late Spring 2021.

In the meantime, the Creative Team at Live Theatre are continuing to develop their artistic, creative and learning programmes which will be delivered in new and innovative ways until shows in front of live audiences once again become possible.

  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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